2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 Test
Suzuki didn’t change a thing on its 2014 GSX-R750, and that’s fine with us. Other than incorporating last year’s front brake master-cylinder recall, the 750 remains a singular bike in a class of its own and one that, other than its A/B fuel injection maps, eschews electronic rider aids. Want traction control? Use your wrist.
We will be taking it to the track but for now, other than cramped ergonomics that offer little in the way of creature comforts, the GSX-R is a real rider.
The 80 miles of freeway back to our garage proved that even with suspension set up for the track or aggressive canyon riding, the 750 remained relatively supple over the many blemishes in the road and transmitted little of the harshness normally accompanying suspension settings like this on many other brands.
Credit for this ride goes to the Showa inverted forks and oil-damped, link-type coil spring rear suspension. We found that this setup worked very well both on the road and at the track.
Our test bike was received with under 200 miles on the odometer and, presumably, with stock suspension adjustments. In hundreds of canyon miles ridden and more than 100 miles of hard track riding, the Gixxer was razor sharp and confidence inducing.
I weigh 185 pounds and never touched the suspension settings. And at 6 feet, I fit into the cockpit and found the reach to the bars, torso angle and peg height to be what one might expect in most bikes this size and design. Tight but cozy.
The standard fitment Bridgestone Battlax BT016 Hypersport tires (F 120/70ZR17 – R 180/55ZR17) offered only average ability on the street and did take a beating at the track producing gumballs the size of garbanzo beans. In all fairness, Bridgestone says this tire “is designed to maximize the sporty performance of sport bikes on the road today.” Not to worry as you will shag these tires in no-time and replace them with rubber commensurate with your mission.
Around town riding is easy and the torque available off idle is far superior to that of a 600. Getting away from stop lights requires no histrionics. The bike takes off smoothly but, at low revs, the inline-4 has a very guttural “valvey” sound, kind of like the noise made by an old duck call. Notwithstanding that, engine internals harmonize around 6000 rpm when the engine starts making serious power with thrust more akin to an older liter bike than a Supersport and redline is north of 14,000 rpm.
The 750 has a wheelbase of 54.7 inches and a claimed curb weight of 419 pounds. Compared to the 600, wheelbase is only 0.2 inches longer and it’s only 7 pounds heavier. Given the base MSRP of $12,299, the 750 is priced only $600 more than its diminutive sibling, making it, methinks, an easy choice for buyers, presuming they aren’t racing in the Supersport class.
Stopping duties are performed by twin Brembo radial mounted brakes up front and a Nissin caliper in the rear. M50 Monoblocs they are not but they are everything needed to tame this beast, even at track speed and repeated hard usage. We experienced no fade or other irregularities in their performance.
For our track day with Motoyard (www.motoyard.com) at the Streets of Willow within Willow Springs International Raceway in the high desert outside Rosamond, Calif., the weather is quite cooperative. This area, which can get high winds, very hot and very cold days, and often all in the same day, is about 65 degrees, calm and sunny. We are really enjoying our weather here in Southern California as most of the US is now snowed in.
This Gixxer springs out of the hole almost like a liter bike and does not suffer any embarrassment during any of the sessions. Sure, those 1000s may pack 40-50 more horsepower, but the 750 hangs with them on this relatively short track and, in the tight places, reigns supreme. As the old saying goes, “better to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.” It doesn’t overwhelm nor is it intimidating, but don’t let that make you think it’s mousey. With an estimated 120-125 hp at the crank, this bike acquits itself quite well offering lap after lap of consistent performance.
Turn-in at any speed is smooth and drama-free. Those brakes work well and the stiff chassis aids in keeping everything settled as the pilot approaches each apex. Drive off the corner is very strong yet manageable and there is power aplenty to steer with the throttle and slide the rear. The front end delivered very good feedback and sent clear messages as to where the gremlin lives. Good stuff, as we also found on the Showa-suspended 2014 Aprilia Tuono we rode recently.
We liked the polished-smooth feel of the 6-speed transmission and the cable-actuated back-torque-limiting (slipper) clutch is a welcome piece of kit. Our vote would be for a quick-shifter, especially for track work. Truth is, most sport bikes ought to have one.
This Gixxer completed the day at Streets without any muss or fuss but, like most of the bikes out there, guzzled fuel at a high rate from the 4.5 gallon tank. MPG on the street was 45 and on the track about 23.
The 2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 continues to live up to its well-deserved reputation and is available now in Metallic Triton Blue-Pearl Glacier White or Glass Sparkle Black-Pearl Mira Red. If you are in the market for a sweet track bike that can double as your weekend ride, all at a reasonable cost, this offering might suit your fancy.
Photography by Don Williams